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Survival and Preparations Long and short term survival and 'prepping'.

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  #1  
Old 01-22-2013, 9:53 PM
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Default Just signed up for CERT training

For the end of February. It's 4 days of 8 hour classes.
http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/

Looking at the training info online, it looks like a lot of good info.

Has anyone else gone through CERT training before? What were your thoughts?
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:52 PM
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Yes - last year Sept/Oct. Evening classes for 9 weeks plus an exercise on a Saturday.

Depends on your background; can be pretty interesting or a bit of 'old news'. And there's a lot of repetition of some parts.

You may find this link useful http://www.tcr-online.com/servlet/th...age/Categories - I did.
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Old 01-23-2013, 3:54 AM
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Yep, a few years back.

Its a great program that teaches you how to be a leader in a massive incident like an earth quake, tornado, hurricane, etc. One of the things you hear is you are up when 911 is down.

It teaches you how to first take care of yourself, then your family, your neighbors and then your community.

You learn about putting out small fires, assessing burning structures to determine if it is within your ability to go inside and rescue people, triage, light first aid, cribbing and lifting, managing resources and how to coordinate with other first responders.

Here is the courseware you will go over in class - http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/IS317/

You will also be required to complete some NIMS courses online to better understand NIMS and ICS - http://training.fema.gov/IS/NIMS.asp

I had to take the following NIMS online courses that were about an hour each and free:
Once you attain your CERT 2, you can participate in CERT events for continuing education and to help others get involved.

AND ITS ALL FREE and you get the nifty green hard hat




CERT WIKI - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communi..._response_team

CERT Los Angeles - http://www.cert-la.com/
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Old 01-23-2013, 4:24 AM
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TheChief summed it up pretty good.

Oakland has its own version of CERT & they do an exercise every year. If you live in (or around) Oakland & want to take part in their free training contact the fire department.
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Old 01-23-2013, 5:40 AM
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I would check with your County EMS director. My county only recognizes Red Cross and trying to get to a scene or authorization into an area without red cross cert is almost impossible.

Training is good make sure you understand if you fall under the good samaritan law to your level of training and what liability you can open yourself up to.
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Old 01-23-2013, 9:57 AM
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Great info. I'm pretty excited about the classes. I'll be looking at all these links tonight when I get home from work.

Hey Chief one question, you said 'Once you attain your CERT 2...'. What is CERT 2?
Is that something you get when you complete the courses like the ones I signed up for?
Sorry if that's a dumb question, I googled 'CERT 2' with no luck at finding out what that is.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:15 AM
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Governments are recognizing that there are times when incidents stretch their resources to the point that having civilian volunteers involved is a positive, and that it is a good thing to train civilian volunteers in advance.

One of the key things CERT training includes is the incident command system, a widely adopted set of organization principles that allows not just first responders but also civil officers and volunteers to work together across agency lines efficiently. When incidents happen, fire and law enforcement agencies already know how to work together, and CERT volunteers are also trained how to fit in. This will expose CERT volunteers to principles helpful in other facets of their life (e.g. "scope of command," meaning don't be managing too many people directly, etc.)

CERT training is great prepping. There is no obligation to leave your family or neighbors just because you're a CERT member--in fact, the understanding is your primary responsibility is to your family and neighbors (this relieves pressure from first responders). Plus, you get plugged in to communications channels that can alert you at a very early point to possible threats. Finally, your CERT ID and perhaps even personal recognition means officials are more likely (not required, but more likely) to respond helpfully to your questions in some scenarios.

For example, some months ago the police and fire departments had barricaded a block near my home. Several neighbors said the police would only tell them to stand back. I held my CERT ID up and approached a squad car and asked what was up. The officer took several minutes to brief me on a potential chemical spill. (CERT volunteers get training on different types of chemical threats and we were issued a reference book that let us know such things as how far away is safe, where to establish perimeters, treatments for exposure, etc.) I was then able to explain what was happening to the neighbors standing around. I think this was CERT working as intended.

CERT volunteers are not meant to be enforcing laws or fighting fires, but during a "situation" CERT members can free up law enforcement and fire fighters to enforce laws and fight fires who might otherwise be directing logistics, disseminating information to neighborhoods, entering data in computers, etc. My observation is that the typical CERT volunteer is middle-aged, not real physically fit, and has a lot of spare or flexible time.

Sometimes CERT members are official liaisons with other groups; in my CERT academy was a representative of one homeowners association and a large church that was preparing to serve as a shelter for evacuees from wildfires or nuclear accident. These people planned to serve their primary organization by interfacing with city, county, and state officials in an appropriate and helpful way.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:00 AM
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Good info Palt and a good example. Thank you.
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Old 01-23-2013, 8:52 PM
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I am going through the training now, we have our practical-exercise/graduation this Saturday.

Most of it is pretty old stuff if you have been in the military. Some first aid, fire suppression/safety, organizing people/equipment, logging events/people/damage, triage, victim psychology, etc. You are supposed to help the Fire/Police gather information about the extent of the damage/casualties during a disaster along with helping out in other ways they might need. We also can be called upon to bring supplies (water/food/etc) to our local fireman if they are on an extended call during a non-emergency. All of this is completely voluntary and you don't need to worry about being "activated" or anything if you decide to just take the training and not go any further. They actually encourage people who have no intention of participating further to still complete the course as it helps prepare them to better react to an emergency of any kind.

CERT also does a background check and issues a photo ID good for a year. The ID gets you into areas off limits to other civilians during an incident. If you participate in further training/drill/events then you get ID renewed.

I figured it couldn't hurt to be on the inside in case of a disaster instead of just one of the huddled masses seeking relief. Not that I would actually be doing much huddling myself though.
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Old 01-23-2013, 9:11 PM
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What about joining the Red Cross? Anybody here a volunteer? Specifically disaster relief efforts?
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Old 01-23-2013, 9:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_In_29 View Post
I am going through the training now, we have our practical-exercise/graduation this Saturday.

Most of it is pretty old stuff if you have been in the military. Some first aid, fire suppression/safety, organizing people/equipment, logging events/people/damage, triage, victim psychology, etc. You are supposed to help the Fire/Police gather information about the extent of the damage/casualties during a disaster along with helping out in other ways they might need. We also can be called upon to bring supplies (water/food/etc) to our local fireman if they are on an extended call during a non-emergency. All of this is completely voluntary and you don't need to worry about being "activated" or anything if you decide to just take the training and not go any further. They actually encourage people who have no intention of participating further to still complete the course as it helps prepare them to better react to an emergency of any kind.

CERT also does a background check and issues a photo ID good for a year. The ID gets you into areas off limits to other civilians during an incident. If you participate in further training/drill/events then you get ID renewed.

I figured it couldn't hurt to be on the inside in case of a disaster instead of just one of the huddled masses seeking relief. Not that I would actually be doing much huddling myself though.
While I have a feeling my questions will be answered for me during my classes next month, I'm curious now.

Is the ID what you use to participate is further training? I assume that getting certified is the prerequisite for it? Is that accurate?

And is that ID issued to all participants that complete the 35 hours or so of CERT training or is there additional steps that one must take to become certified and gain access to further training?
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel80 View Post
What about joining the Red Cross? Anybody here a volunteer? Specifically disaster relief efforts?
That's an avenue. Here in Contra Costa RC runs the shelters. They do other stuff, don't quite have a handle on the range of responsibilities for them. Seems like Red Cross gets sent out of state more than other emergency response groups, besides the heavy search/rescue teams.

Years ago I did Shelter Management and Damage Assessment classes from RC.

In Contra Costa there is also the Medical Reserve group. You know all that triaging and transporting? Probably those folks wind up with the licensed healthcare folks at the next level up from the CERT responders.

I think we get RED shirts and IDs in the Medical Reserve. Don't believe Concord's CERT get IDs, but those spiffy green hard hats and green vests are pretty easy to spot.
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Old 01-24-2013, 3:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaligaran View Post
Great info. I'm pretty excited about the classes. I'll be looking at all these links tonight when I get home from work.

Hey Chief one question, you said 'Once you attain your CERT 2...'. What is CERT 2?
Is that something you get when you complete the courses like the ones I signed up for?
Sorry if that's a dumb question, I googled 'CERT 2' with no luck at finding out what that is.
There are two levels of CERT and a third one in some areas.

In my area there are many courses of CERT that are taught in high schools or churches that only go over the material and lectures with no practical training...i.e. you don't go outside and practice. Once you complete the class you are a CERT 1.

A CERT 2 goes through the classes and practical training as well as an extensive training exercise at the end of the course.

CERT 3 is new program that some of the regions are trying to develop where the trained and respected members can maintain their Incident Commander, among other roles, status even when the professional first responders show up. This is because you have been specially trained and authorized by the local governing body as an expert. It requires approval from both the Fire and Police houses as in many of these roles you will be commanding fire fighters and police officers during a crisis. While many of the Fire house leaders are on board with this as they are familiar with the training program, Police leadership is not. It continues to be a work in progress.

For now the CERT 3 folks are usually the senior CERTs in a given district and primarily provide leadership and support training efforts. These are very dedicated individuals and give massive amounts of their time to the betterment of the CERT program in their county/region.
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Old 01-24-2013, 3:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaligaran View Post
While I have a feeling my questions will be answered for me during my classes next month, I'm curious now.

Is the ID what you use to participate is further training? I assume that getting certified is the prerequisite for it? Is that accurate?

And is that ID issued to all participants that complete the 35 hours or so of CERT training or is there additional steps that one must take to become certified and gain access to further training?
Not all counties have a CERT program. Not all CERT programs provide IDs. It took my county five years to get them. However, I am fairly certain you need to complete the program before receiving a CERT ID identifying you as a trained CERT
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Old 01-24-2013, 7:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaligaran View Post
While I have a feeling my questions will be answered for me during my classes next month, I'm curious now.

Is the ID what you use to participate is further training? I assume that getting certified is the prerequisite for it? Is that accurate?

And is that ID issued to all participants that complete the 35 hours or so of CERT training or is there additional steps that one must take to become certified and gain access to further training?
I didn't realise there were differing levels of CERT or that not all Counties run the same progam.

Here in San Bernardino County you get the ID after the inital 3 days of training an dI haven't heard anything about Levels. Said initial training is what allows you (if you so decide) to continue on in the CERT program and receive additional training and practical application of skills. Our local CERT has monthly meetings that you attend for this and they also participate in other Community events, either as CERT program recruiters or helping with crowd/traffic control.

The ID card needs to be renewed each year (only done if you are actively participating), so you don't have people running around getting into things they shouldn't years after the fact.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:29 AM
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Concord CERT has the full-day exercise as a graduation requirement, no 'class-only' version.

So far, there have been 3 follow-up trainings: FRS Radios, Animal Response (rescue for pets), and Neighborhood team captain.

There are optional monthly 1-hour meetings.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:19 AM
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some good stuff. I just have the manual. didnt take the course , I already work in that field
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:27 PM
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Good info.

I'll post updates after each class. But that's a month away.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:37 PM
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Got my ham radio General license through CERT.

You'll have fun.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:53 PM
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Got my CERT training in Culver City. It's affiliated with our Fire Dept and has 4 days of training plus a full day practical test as a graduation requirement. After that, you get the ID.

In some areas, CERT will get called out in conjunction with local Red Cross to handle triage and the like. There was a callout after a train derailment a few years back, as an example.

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Old 01-24-2013, 4:15 PM
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Trying to track down the San Diego options - I'm up in North County when in San Diego.

They prohibit use or carrying of weapons when involved in any CERT activity. Is this common in the counties where a CHL/CCW is an option?
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Old 01-24-2013, 6:07 PM
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DADT, I think.

On the whole, I suspect properly concealed would not bother many, but one of my instructors is ex-FBI and kind of was down on the idea. (He didn't mind if HE were armed, but didn't think it necessary.)
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:24 PM
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This is really cool, I'm thinking about signing up for CERT in march and have just submitted a background check to volunteer with Red Cross. RC has a very extensive application process before you even do an orientation. Very cool, I'm glad this thread exists, got me excited to help my community and learn some new skills.
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Old 01-25-2013, 5:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheels View Post
Trying to track down the San Diego options - I'm up in North County when in San Diego.

Where in North, I know Temecula has a very nice CERT program.

They prohibit use or carrying of weapons when involved in any CERT activity. Is this common in the counties where a CHL/CCW is an option?
This is a new nation wide thing this year. I disagree with it. I also view it as a CERT liability thing if they didn't state this.

I don't have a ccw, but figured if there was anything hostile about the environment or situation, CERT is not going to allow their members to go in. Also, if you find something unsafe, hostile or uncertain...LEAVE, take care of yourself first. We all want to help, but you will be doing more good for more people if you let the pro's handle the situation instead of you trying to and getting hurt. If you do, we just end up with more people injured or dead and then the CERT group becomes two people short. (We always work in teams)
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Old 01-25-2013, 5:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaligaran View Post
Good info.

I'll post updates after each class. But that's a month away.
If you search, there is a very thorough review thread on this.

Let me try to find it.

Edit:

Found a CERT video shown in class that shows what CERT does. You will most likely watch this in your course.

http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/vid...ion/index.shtm

2nd edit:

Here we go, a CERT review by a calgunner

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=113490

Last edited by DavidR310; 01-25-2013 at 7:09 AM..
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Old 01-25-2013, 8:38 PM
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I took the course 2 yrs ago. I learned a lot of new stuff, both from the instructor and from other people's experiences. The green hard hat is plus!
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Old 01-25-2013, 8:39 PM
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*a plus
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Old 02-23-2013, 4:12 PM
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Just returned from my first day of CERT training (8 hours). I said I'd give an update, so here it is...

So day 1 was really focused on an introduction to CERT, basic personal/family preparation, some of our local resources and additional training which we can take. This was Unit 1 of the course.
Unit 2 was also done today which included basic fire suppression, identifying fires and the proper extinguisher types to use, identification of signs for hazardous materials, that kinda thing.
We did do some hands on fire suppression (supervised by the fire dept we had our training at) which was fun since I've never actually put out a fire beyond a campfire.

Really I didn't all that much at today's introduction. Mostly because it's general prepping concepts and recommendations which I am already familiar with. However, having it all in a classroom environment was a really nice thing to attend and it just reinforced a lot of concepts I had read elsewhere over the years.
There were some good tips in the fire suppression section that I didn't know.

The main things I walked away from today with was the networking and the knowledge of some local resources which I was unaware of (which is a big take away in my opinion).

They gave us these really nice CERT backpacks with all kinds of goodies in it.
It was funny to me because everything in it except for the high visibility vest and hard hat were all things I had in my GHB with me anyway. So I donated back some items in the bag such as the gloves (mine fit me better anyway). I kept the rest because I feel that you can never have enough stuff and if a disaster happened I could always give it to someone that didn't have anything (such as the pocket first aid kit or spare flashlight)

Next week is medical 8 hour course which I'm stoked about b/c I haven't had any medical training beyond a CPR course in high school.

Apparently they are also doing a pandemic response training course in Half Moon Bay in two months called Silver Dragon 2 which CERT members can take for free. I'm definitely going to go over to the coast for that class too.

I didn't realize how much there was around here to get involved in. I was already excited about the classes and now I'm really thankful I signed up.
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Old 02-23-2013, 4:16 PM
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Thanks for the write up, I am actually starting on a CERT course next Monday.
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Old 02-23-2013, 4:35 PM
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And the best part of CERT.......it's all free!

CERT medical is based on mass casualties so they focus on triage over treatment. Simple Triage And Rapid Treatment. You won't be using cpr unless your stationed where they bring the injured.

I will be getting my red cross basic first aid and cpr in April for free courtesy of CERT
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Old 02-23-2013, 4:40 PM
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Hi all, I have 7+ years of experience as a CERT leader and instructor with a large city fire department. Since there is conflicting information in this thread, I would like to clarify a few points.


-- Not all jurisdictions approach the CERT program in the same way. Some consider it to be a nice program for "nice civilian people" to be become home prepared for a disaster. For example, some jurisdictions have CERT as an outlet for retired folks to do HAM radio and serve coffee during a disaster. Some jurisdictions take the program more seriously and actively train their CERT members for deployment to high-level disasters. For example, my department treats CERTs more like a search and rescue outfit and holds high expectations for members.


-- Not all CERT programs have "levels". The CERT 1, 2 and 3 I am reading about here is surely a specific reference to the Los Angeles CERT program. LA CERT is the grand daddy of them all and has varying levels of education required in order to qualify to do certain things (like deploy to an incident). On the other hand, my CERT program does not have "levels" and I think the majority of CERT programs across the nation do not have levels. Though, I sure wish we did have levels as I think it would really help weed out the non-participants.....


-- CERT classes can be offered in different formats. Our classes run for 6 weeks, 4-hours per class. The last "class" is actually a final drill (earthquake scenario) and graduation. Other agencies offer classes for three days at 8hrs/day and so on. The agency can format the course however it wants as long as the hours total 24 and the national CERT curriculum is covered.


-- Earning a CERT credential (badge, ID) depends on the policies of the sponsoring jurisdiction. Where I come from, all CERT graduates have one year from graduation to attend a couple of CERT meetings and take two CERT classes and then we will release the ID card. Other places hand them out to everyone at graduation and some programs reserve the cards only for specially qualified members. For us, the credential allows the CERT member to deploy and access the locations of emergencies on the activation of CERT program officials. In effect, CERT members can use the card to "cross police lines" at an emergency provided they are under activation orders to assist at that location.


At the end of the day, when it comes to CERT programs, the key to remember is that your mileage may vary.



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Old 02-23-2013, 5:04 PM
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That class looks pretty cool.
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Old 02-23-2013, 7:47 PM
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Just signed up for one in Mountain View!
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Old 02-24-2013, 8:46 AM
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Originally Posted by kaligaran View Post
The main things I walked away from today with was the networking and the knowledge of some local resources which I was unaware of (which is a big take away in my opinion).

I didn't realize how much there was around here to get involved in. I was already excited about the classes and now I'm really thankful I signed up.
That's the best thing about CERT, in my opinion, the resources. And there's some good specific knowledge about emergencies.
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Old 02-24-2013, 9:25 AM
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Hey BadKitty, I agree it seems very different among the various jurisdictions that teach CERT. I wasn't too sure how my classes were going to be until yesterday.
I'm taking it in San Mateo and it's 4 eight hour classes with a final exam and an issued ID. Apparently the group teaching it doesn't like classroom and it's going to be mostly hands on which is great in my opinion.

Apparently we are also going to be sworn in by the San Mateo Sheriff Dept with an oath to be registered as disaster responders.

@ DavidR - I can't wait to keep taking these classes. Pretty excited about the Silver Dragon 2 pandemic course. I'll have to look into the Red Cross one.

@Skilletboy/BlairB - Your going to be glad you took it. If they actually certify you guys (since apparently not all do) then if you sign up for the Silver Dragon class in Half Moon Bay, let me know. I'd love to meet more Calgunners.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaligaran View Post
Hey BadKitty, I agree it seems very different among the various jurisdictions that teach CERT. I wasn't too sure how my classes were going to be until yesterday.
I'm taking it in San Mateo and it's 4 eight hour classes with a final exam and an issued ID. Apparently the group teaching it doesn't like classroom and it's going to be mostly hands on which is great in my opinion.
Absolutely! Too much classroom stuff doesn't do any good. We do about 1-2 hours of lecture to give the overview and hit the curriculum, then everyone's up out their chairs to get hands-on with the skills.


Quote:
Apparently we are also going to be sworn in by the San Mateo Sheriff Dept with an oath to be registered as disaster responders.
Nice! I'm really glad to hear that you get support from the local SO. Our program is sponsored by the fire department; so, our Fire Chief comes out and swears the new CERT graduates in. Our graduates then become Disaster Service Workers for both the city and county. Though, as I mentioned before, they still have to attend two meetings and two continuing education classes to qualify for their credential.


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Old 02-24-2013, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by BadKitty View Post
Nice! I'm really glad to hear that you get support from the local SO. Our program is sponsored by the fire department; so, our Fire Chief comes out and swears the new CERT graduates in. Our graduates then become Disaster Service Workers for both the city and county. Though, as I mentioned before, they still have to attend two meetings and two continuing education classes to qualify for their credential.
Yeah I live in an incorporated county so no city to be part of. Since we're separated from the more populated areas (I'm at the top of a mountain) and have been told before by the county that we would be the last assisted in a disaster (just by the sheer numbers - help the most people first), there seem to be a lot of dedicated people and a lot of training offered up here which is awesome.
The fire station is who is doing the training but it seems to be in conjunction with a few other organizations.

Thanks for the clarification on the levels and stuff. I plan on taking more classes which will, from what you explained, keep the certification from expiring.

I like free and educational at the same time.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by kaligaran View Post
I plan on taking more classes which will, from what you explained, keep the certification from expiring.

Each jurisdiction handles their certifications differently. So, do be sure to check with your sponsoring agency on if the card is good indefinitely or if there are annual re-qualifications required.


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Old 02-24-2013, 11:57 PM
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I just submitted my app over the weekend. Waiting to see what happens.
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Old 02-25-2013, 8:44 AM
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Some area do different levels, but the curriculum is still mandated by the CitizenCorp.

I did my training a year ago, and going to refresh this fall. My city does a 3 consecutive saturday course, with the drill/excersize being the last half, of the last day. I've alos participated in activites and excersises in other cities, to broaden my experience, and also to network with like-minded individuals.

I too was disappointed by the statements that CERT members were not allowed to be armed when deploying, but I know that in a real SHTF local situation, if I were to deploy, I would not do so unarmed. If they turn my help away, then so be it. I will find ways to help in my community, and the training I got will be helpful, I'm sure. The system of marking buildings, and the systemic routines of search and resuce will be very helpful. I've met other people who feel the same way about responding armed, wether open or concealed, and these are the people I'd probably end up forming a "unit" with. I've been the IC at one event, and I felt I really did well.

HAM is one of the next things I want to learn, but with a new baby at home, I don't have as much time as I'd like to work on my extra curricular skills right now.
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